44 - The World According to Dubya
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
Post #38 of this blog showed a spoof map of the world, supposedly according to Ronald Reagan – the avuncular 40th President of the US, an icon of conservatism to some, a prime example of cluelessness to others (including those who made the map).
I’m old enough to remember that map when it was topical, and remarked in the post that I hadn’t seen any similar parody maps, updated to correspond to the world view of George W. (‘Dubya’) Bush, a president similarly considered to be ultraconservative and/or not so bright.\n
I have to thank Leon, who replied to that post, for finding one here. It’s interesting to compare Dubya’s world view (or at least the perception thereof, by certain people) with the one shown in Reagan’s map.\n
Dubya’s map shows a fragmented US too, reflecting the partisan nature of his presidency, but his ‘home’ has of course shifted to the State of Texas (My Ranch).\n
California, which used to be Reagan’s home state, has morphed into ‘Librulfornia‘, an indication of the aversion towards the ‘liberal’ west coast (also referred to as ‘Left Coast’), shown by conservatives in the vein of ‘Dubya’.\n
The rest of the US simply is the Rest of ‘Merka, except for – again – the ‘liberal’ area on the northeast coast: (“terrorist coddlers here”) and the South, labelled ‘The Base’. This is a reference to the large section of religious voters, mainly in the South, that voted for George W. Bush in support of his Christian beliefs. Note also that ‘The Base’ in Arabic translates as… ‘Al Qaeda’ – although that is probably reading too much into the term…\n
As far as Latin America is concerned, it is divided simply into illegal immigrants (Mexico), Commies (Cuba) and ‘uppity democracies’ (the rest).\n
Large parts of the rest of the world are simply defined in terms of their usefulness: Alaskan, Atlantic, Pacific, Arab and Stan oilfields, Outsourcing HQ (India), Wal-Mart factories (China).\n
Europe is divided according to strategic usefulness: Loyal Ally, Unreliable Allies (Western Europe) and Bribed Allies (Eastern Europe). Scandinavia is just labelled ‘cold‘, and the Russians – though no longer Communist – are still ‘Ruskies‘.\n
Troublespots are Iraq (‘Not Vietnam‘), the ‘Axiseses of Evil‘ (probably Iran, maybe Syria) and North Korea (‘Trouble‘).\n
Australia, without oil or restless natives, just simply is a ‘Boring Landmass‘. And Canada is ‘Just like the United States‘, except the part where the ‘French’ live.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
- Scientists treated scalp tissue with a chemical that mimics the odor of sandalwood.
- This chemical bound to an olfactory receptor in the scalp and stimulated hair growth.
- The treatment could soon be available to the public.
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